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How to ensure a complete estate plan

Even people who are careful during the estate planning process can overlook certain things. For example, New York estate planners should make sure to avoid common errors such as failing to fill out beneficiary designations. Assets such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts generally have such designations

Not correctly placing assets into a trust is another typical error. This process may involve needing to retitle some assets, or there may be other procedures depending on what type of asset it is. If the trust is not correctly funded, the assets will have to pass through probate. Furthermore, it is important to understand what assets can go into the trust. Assets with joint rights of survivorship do not pass using a will or a trust.

While estate planning is private, people may want to share some of the details with loved ones or financial professionals. It is critical that the executor, family members and other key people know how to access estate planning documents, including any digital assets or information. An attorney may be able to suggest some solutions. Finally, estate plans should be reviewed after all major life changes. This includes changes in family or in assets.

It's wise to discuss the various documents that go into an estate plan with an attorney. Ultimately, the lawyer could help ensure that the plan is complete. For example, having powers of attorney that appoint people to take over medical and financial decision making can save a family from the time-consuming process of having a guardian appointed. An estate owner may also want to consider a living will, which gives family members instructions about wishes for end-of-life care.

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